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Like a right gipsy, hath, at fast and loose,
Beguild me to the very heart of loss 3
What, Eros, Eros!


Chapman, in his translation of the second book of Homer, uses crown in the sense which my learned coadjutor would recommend :

all things have their crowne." Again, in our author's Cymbeline :

My supreme crown of grief.” Again, in Troilus and Cressida :

As true as Troilus shall crown up the verse,

“ And sanctify the numbers.” STEEVENS. So, again, in All's Well That Ends Well :

All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown." C. * Like a right GIPSY, hath, at FAST AND LOOSE,

Beguild me, &c.] There is a kind of pun in this passage, arising from the corruption of the word Ægyptian into gipsy. The old law-books term such persons as ramble about the coudtry, and pretend skill in palmistry and fortune-telling, Ægyptians. “ Fast and loose" is a term to signify a cheating game, of which the following is a description. A leathern belt is made up into a number of intricate folds, and placed edgewise upon a table. One of the folds is made to resemble the middle of the girdle, so that whoever should thrust a skewer into it would think he held it fast to the table; whereas, when he has so done, the person with whom he plays may take hold of both ends, and draw it away. This trick is now known to the common people, by the name of pricking at the belt or girdle, and perhaps was practised by the Gypsies in the time of Shakspeare. "SIR J. Hawkins.

Sir John Hawkins's supposition is confirmed by the following Epigram in an ancient collection called Run and a great Cast, by Thomas Freeman, 1614 :

" in Ægyptum suspensum. Epig. 95.
“ Charles the Ægyptian, who by jugling could
“ Make fast or loose, or whatsoere he would ;
“ Surely it seem'd he was not his craft's master,
“ Striving to loose what struggling he made faster :
“The hangman was more cunning of the twaine,
“ Who knit what he could not unknit againe.
“ You countrymen Ægyptians make such sots,
“Seeming to loose indissoluble knots ;
“ Had you been there, but to have seen the cast,
You would have won, had but you laid-'tis fast."



Ah, thou spell! Avaunt. Cleo. Why is my lord enrag'd against his love ?

Ant. Vanish ; or I shall give thee thy deserving, And blemish Cæsar's triumph. Let him take thee, And hoist thee up to the shouting Plebeians: Follow his chariot, like the greatest spot Of all thy sex; most monster-like, be shown For poor'st diminutives, for doits *; and let


That the Ægyptians were great adepts in this art before Shakspeare's time, may be seen in Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, p. 336, where these practices are fully explained. Reed. - to the very heart of loss.] To the utmost loss possible.

Johnson. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor :

“ Here is the heart of my purpose.” Steevens.
most monster-like, be shown

For Poor'ST DIMINUTIVES, POR DOITS ;] [Old copy-for dolts.] As the allusion here is to monsters carried about in shows, it is plain, that the words, " for poorest diminutives," must mean for the least piece of money. We must therefore read the next word :

for doits,-i. e. farthings, which shows what he means by “poorest diminutives." WARBURTON.

There was surely no occasion for the poet to show what he meant by purest diminutives. The expression is clear enough, and certainly acquires no additional force from the explanation. I rather believe we should read :

For poor'st diminutives, to dolts. ; This aggravates the contempt of her supposed situation; to be shown, as monsters are, not only for the smallest piece of money, but to the most stupid and vulgar spectators.

TYRWHITT. I have adopted this truly sensible emendation. Steevens.

I have received the emendation made by Dr. Warburton, because the letter i, in consequence of the dot over it, is sometimes confounded with l at the press.

It appears to me much more probable that dolts should have been printed for doits, than that for should have been substituted for to.

Whichsoever of these emendations be admitted, there is still a

Patient Octavia plough thy visage up
With her prepared nails'. [E.rit C.eo.] 'Tis well

thou'rt gone,
If it be well to live : But better 'twere
Thou fellst into my fury, for one death
Might have prevented many.--Eros, ho!
The shirt of Nessus is upon me: Teach me,
Alcides, thou mine ancestor, thy rage :
Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' the moon;

thy rage

difficulty. Though monsters are shown to the stupid and the vulgar for poor'st diminutives, yet Cleopatra, according to Antony's supposition, would certainly be exhibited to the Roman populace for nothing. Nor can it be said that he means that she would be exhibited gratis, as monsters are shown for small pieces of money; because his words are “ monster-like,” be [thou] shown for poor'st diminutives," &c.

I have sometimes therefore thought that Shakspeare might have written :

Fore poor diminutives, fore dolts.". The following passage in Troilus and Cressida adds some support to my conjecture : " How this poor world is pester'd with such water-flies ; diminutives of nature !” Malone.

5 With her PREPARED nails.] i. e. with nails which she suffered to grow for this purpose.

Let me lodge Lichas, &c.] Sir T. Hanmer reads thus :

Led thee lodge Lichas-and

“ Subdue thy worthiest self." This reading, harsh as it is, Dr. Warburton has received, after having rejected many better. The meaning is, 'Let me do something in my rage, becoming the successor of Hercules.'

i Johnson. “ Let me lodge Lichas on the horns o' the moon.” This image our poet seems to have taken from Seneca's Hercules, who says Lichas being launched into the air, sprinkled the clouds with his blood. Sophocles, on the same occasion, talks at a much soberer rate.

Shakspeare was more probably indebted to Golding's version of
Ovid's Metamorphosis, b. ix. edit. 1575:

“ Behold, as Lychas trembling in a hollow rock did lurk,
“ He spyed him : And as his griefe did all in furie work,
" He sayd, art thou syr Lychas, he that broughtest unto mee
“ This plagye present? Of my death must thou the woorker


And with those hands, that grasp'd the heaviest

club, Subdue my worthiest self. The witch shall die; To the young Roman boy' she hath sold me, and I

fall Under this plot: she dies for’t.-Eros, ho! [Exit.


Alexandria. A Room in the Palace.

Enter CLEOPATRA, CHARMIAN, IRAs, and Mardian.

Cleo. Help me, my women! O, he is more mad Than Telamon for his shield®; the boar of Thessaly Was never so emboss'do. CHAR.

To the monument; There lock yourself, and send him word you are


“ Hee quaak't and shaak't and looked pale, and fearfully gan

make “ Excuse. But as with humbled hands hee kneeling too him

spake, “ The furious Hercule caught him up, and swindging him

about “ His head a halfe a doozen tymes or more, he floong him


“ Into th’ Euboyan sea, with force surmounting any sling ;
“ He hardened intoo peble stone as in the ayre he hing," &c.

Steevens. 7- the Roman boy - ] Old copy—the young Roman boySee p. 355, n. 9, where a similar interpolation has been already ejected, for similar reasons. STEEVENS.

8 Than Telamon for his shield;] i. e. than Ajax Telamon for the armour of Achilles, the most valuable part of which was the shield. The boar of Thessaly was the boar killed by Meleager.

STEEVENS. 9 Was never so Emboss'n.) A hunting term : when a deer is hard run, and foams at the mouth, he is said to be imbost.

HANMER. See vol. v. p. 361. MALONE.

The soul and body rive not more in parting,
Than greatness going off'.

To the monument:
Mardian, go tell him I have slain myself ;
Say, that the last I spoke was, Antony,
And word it, pr’ythee, piteously: Hence,
Mardian ; and bring me how he takes my death.-
To the monument.



The Same. Another Room.

Enter Antony and EROS. Ant. Eros, thou yet behold’st me? Eros.

Ay, noble lord. Ant. Sometime, we see a cloud that's dragonish”;

The soul and body rive not more in parting,
Than greatness going off.] So, in King Henry VIII. :

it is a sufferance, panging “ As soul and body's severing.” MALONE. · Sometime, we see a cloud that's dragonish ; &c.] So, Aristophanes, Nubes, v. 345 :

"Ήδη ποτ' αναβλέψας είδες νεφέλην Κενταύρω ομοίαν ;
"Ή παρδάλει, η λύκω, ή ταύρω ;-.

SiR W. RAWLINSON. Perhaps Shakspeare received the thought from P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, b. ii. ch. iii. : “ — our eiesight testifieth the same, whiles in one place there appeareth the resemblance of a waine or chariot, in another of a beare, the figure of a bull in this part,” &c. or from Chapman's Monsieur D'Olive, 1606 :

“ Like to a mass of clouds that now seem like
“ An elephant, and straightways like an ox,

“ And then a mouse," &c. STEEVENS. I find the same thought in Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois, 1607 :

- like empty clouds,
“ In which our faulty apprehensions forge
“The forms of dragons, lions, elephants,

When they hold no proportion.”

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